Movin' On Mobility
By Erica Whyman
Andrew Goodyear is one of those people who is lucky enough to get up every day to a career he is passionate about, and one that makes a positive impact on people's lives. More than just a difference, in some instances, he gives people a life that was otherwise unattainable.
Goodyear is the owner of Wheelchair Getaways and Movin' On Mobility, both companies dedicated to finding customized vehicle solutions for those with disabilities. He was gracious enough to spend some time telling me about his companies and the hour I spent chatting with him and his staff made a positive impact on my life.
"We are like the Hertz of van rentals for those with disabilities," says Andrew with a smile, when explaining Wheelchair Getaways.
In 1988 Andrew was preparing to travel from Virginia to South Florida for a wedding, and found very quickly there was a gap in the market in South Florida for people to rent vans that were wheelchair accessible.
Andrew, a quadriplegic at age 17, said he was surprised, that especially in South Florida, an area that markets to tourists and seniors, that there were not any rental options. The sentiment was echoed when he began calling around to medical supply companies and even the chamber of commerce. People kept saying that while they did not know of a company that rented wheelchair accessible vans, they did get many calls requesting the very same thing.
In 1991, Goodyear opened a Wheelchair Getaways franchise in South Florida. He purchased the territory rights from West Palm Beach to Miami Dade as well as the Naples and Fort Myers areas.
In 2003 with his now business partner, Rod Alt, Goodyear expanded his business to a partnership in Movin' On Mobility, a company that customizes vehicles specific to the needs of those with disabilities. The business specializes in the sales of new and used wheelchair vans as well as the installation and service of scooter and wheelchair lifts, hand controls, electronic driving controls, and turning automotive seating.
"Often times when I meet a new customer for the first time, I see a sense of relief come over them, says Goodyear, or he hears comments like, "as soon as I saw you, I knew I was in the right place." This is because at the end of day Andrew truly does understand, because he lives with a disability every day.
Goodyear's goal is to find the right mobility solution for each customer. This solution may be different for someone with a new injury, a temporary injury or someone whose disability may worsen with time. He will often rent accessible vans to customers prior to them purchasing, so they can be positive that a customized vehicle meets their needs.
The technology is very impressive and continues to evolve, allowing for more streamlined equipment and increased functionality for the user. I was personally impressed with Andrew's own personal van, which to me, looked more SUV than mini. In a matter of seconds, he opened the van and was in the driver position ready to start the ignition.
Goodyear is a passionate man, yes about his business, but more about the people he helps. He shared many accounts of customers who he has been able to "get in a van," and the positive difference it has made in their lives. He really lights up when speaking about his hopes for a future charitable foundation that raises money to donate wheelchair accessible vans to those who cannot afford them.
"An accessible vehicle has the ability to give someone hope, a life, the ability to work, all basic desires…" effuses Goodyear.
What else makes Andrew tick? Football, that is coaching football. Goodyear has been a Pop Warner youth football coach for the past 15 years in Jupiter. He has coached kids as young as 8 and as old as 15. One of his favorite things is being out and hearing a kid, now all grown up, yell, "hey coach," and come over to talk about the positive experiences he had while playing on his team. As Andrew saw me to the door, I had the sense that I had just spent an hour with a friend, and maybe I had.
To learn more about
Movin' On Mobility and Wheelchair Getaways visit www.movinonmobility.com or www.wheelchairgetaways.com or call (561) 881-5600.